Buddha, Buddhism, Happiness, Meditation, Photography, Practice, root, self, student, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q284. How many hours a day should I practice?

A. The more the better, but you should never allow your practice to a make mess of not only your normal life but also your Zen meditation by practising too hard. In the beginning, in order to get used to keeping the question, you had better make it a rule to practice for at least an hour a day at a set time everyday, for example, before going to bed or immediately after waking up. However, once you have learned how to keep the question, you need not confine your practice to a given period of time and be bound by time since time is a typical illusion which we should remove.

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Then, erase all time lines from your mind and think that you practice all the time forever. Identify yourself with the question. Then whatever you do, your question will do it. Your question, for example, will drink tea when you drink tea, and your question will chat even when you chat. Then, your practice will go on by itself. Until you reach this stage, practice at least an hour a day and try to keep the question all the time.

 

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, Koan, Meditation, Mind, now, root, self, true self, Truth, Uncategorized, Zen

Q166. How can we use our Dharma discussion as part of practice?

A. Discussions on Zen meditation and the Dharma are a very important part of our practice because we can help one another through them. In order to make the discussions efficient and helpful, special attitudes are required for these discussions, especially in the absence of a master who has can guide us.
When you ask your Zen friend a question, you should think you are not asking your friend, but Buddha the question and listen to him in the same way. When you are not satisfied with his answer, either because you don’t understand his answer or because you think he is giving a wrong answer, you should blame yourself for not understanding his perfect teaching rather than think he is wrong. You should keep in mind that he is telling you the truth regardless of whether his answer is right or wrong.

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When you are asked a question, you should regard the questioner as Buddha and think you are being tested by Buddha. Be frank about your practice, and try your best to make the best answer you can. Be neither happy because he agrees with you, nor unhappy because he doesn’t, since his approval itself doesn’t advance your practice and his disapproval doesn’t disturb your progress.

When you ask, asking itself is important because the answer is in your asking. When you listen, listening itself is important because the answer is in your listening. When you answer, answering itself is important because the answer is in your answering. In summary, what matters is all in you, not out of you.
©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Enlightenment, final goal, master, Meditation, Practice, student, Zen

Q135. Student: “What am I when my body is not me?

A. Master: “It can’t be explained with words.”
Student: “How can I experience what can’t be explained with words?”
Master: “You are doing it now.”
Student: “Why can’t I recognise it?”
Master: “Tell me what can’t recognise it.”

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Commentary:
Oh! Poor student!
He is talking in his sleep. Why doesn’t he know what is using his mouth while speaking?
©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Buddha, Buddhism, Enlightenment, master, Meditation, Practice, student, Zen

Q129. Student: “What are we when our bodies are not us?”

Master: “It can’t be explained with words.”
Student: “What is a word beyond words?”
Master: “Love.”
Student: “Beautiful!”
Master: “You made it dirty.”

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Commentary:
Beautiful?
What is beautiful?
Don’t mistake a beautiful lady’s dress for her.
©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway